Belfast Telegraph

Where are you now, TV’s Ciara Harrison?

Producer seeks teen who starred in documentary

By Amanda Poole

The French filmmaking team behind a BAFTA-winning television series about conflict is trying to track down a Belfast woman who took part in one of its programmes in 1995.

In the one-hour show, called Vis A Vis, the then 17-year-old Ciara Harrison, from the Antrim Road or Ardoyne area of Belfast, was featured as she talked with Bosnian teenager Sanina Campara, from Sarajevo.

Viewers see Ciara, a pupil at Hazelwood Integrated College, show Sanina and her family pictures of Belfast and the interface barriers.

The girls marvel at being able to see each other through video link-ups and Ciara’s six -year-old sister and friends — Aidan, Angela, David, Gemma, Tony and Warren — also speak to Sanina and her family.

Ciara’s mother, who isn’t named, features in the documentary along with her friend, mother-of-six Doreen, who talks of her husband being shot dead during the Troubles.

Vis A Vis was part of a collection of 14 films.

Now nearly 20 years later, the producer Patrice Barrat wants to re-visit the stories.

At one point in Vis A Vis, Ciara says: “The Catholics and Protestants don’t shoot each other any more. There is a ceasefire and we are having peace talks.

“It’s really good. There is no tension in the street.

“You don’t need to worry if you want to go to a Protestant area, because you know there is a ceasefire and you know nothing is going to happen to you.”

Ciara offers to say a prayer for Sanina, that one day she will live in “peace and harmony” and explains that she attends an integrated school.

She said: “It’s designed to give children of mixed religions the chance to mix together, because sometimes in their neighbourhoods it’s all Catholic or all Protestant.”

During Vis A Vis, Noreen Campbell, former Hazelwood Integrated College principal, speaks of the school being “a symbol for what could be achieved for Northern Ireland”.

Last night, Mrs Campbell, now working for Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education, told the Belfast Telegraph she has fond memories of the team filming at Hazelwood.

“It was a very significant series,” she said.

“The film crew was at Hazelwood for three months and Belfast Lessons was broadcast every night after the Channel 4 news.

“I think it was the first time videoing conferencing took place here and Hazelwood had the first ISDN line in Belfast. After Belfast Lessons they put together the programme about Ciara and the young girl from Sarajevo.

“They compared experiences. It was very moving.”

Background

In 1993 and 1994 producer Patrice Barrat launched a daily chronicle, called A Street Under Siege, in Sarajevo for BBC2 and French German TV ARTE. The series won a BAFTA and then a few months later, the same team made another daily chronicle called Belfast Lessons, followed up by Vis a Vis. Are you Ciara? Do you know Ciara? Please call 028 9026 4420 or e-mail newseditor@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

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